The news has been slow from One Buc Place since the opening of free agency on Tuesday but that doesn't mean things aren't going on behind the scenes. Pewter Report takes a look at the latest news, rumors and notes regarding the Bucs and free agency.
This year’s free agency period has been a bit anti-climatic for Bucs fans. After last season’s first 24-hour splash with the signings of wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks, and cornerback Eric Wright, fans were expecting – or at least hoping – for a replay. This year, Bucs fans are like kids on Christmas Eve waiting for the clock to strike midnight, but instead it appears to have dead batteries.
According to sources and media reports, the Bucs are hard at work with multiple agents, but their initial priority is working out a deal with San Francisco Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson who is in Tampa after being whisked from the West Coast in a private jet Tuesday night.
Below is a rundown of the latest rumblings, rumors and facts on the Buccaneers free agency situation:
• Goldson is in Tampa, arriving Monday night and met with the Buccaneers late last evening off site from One Buccaneer Place. Goldson was expected to be at One Buc Place today to work out the details of a new contract and become a member of the Buccaneers, helping shore up major deficiencies in the secondary.
• The cornerback market price has yet to be set as none of the top available free agents, such as Dominique Cromartie-Rodgers, Sean Smith or Brent Grimes have signed. Tampa Bay has interest in Smith and Grimes, according to reports and are also still reportedly alive in the Darelle Revis trade sweepstakes. Another possible wild card in the Bucs cornerback hunt is Nnamdi Asomugha, who was released by the Eagles earlier on Tuesday. Tampa Bay was interested in Asomugha in 2011 prior to the former Raider signing a monster deal with the Eagles. Former Jags cornerback Derek Cox was thought to possibly be an early Bucs target, but there have been few bits of information coming out other than a scheduled visit to New Orleans on Thursday. PewterReport.com contacted the agent for Cox and a member of his staff informed us they are no longer representing him.
• As we reported earlier on Wednesday, former Seahawks Pro Bowl kick returner Leon Washington told Sirius XM NFL Radio that the Buccaneers were interested in trading for him prior to being released. Washington holds the NFL record for most career kickoff return touchdowns with eight, and would bolster the Bucs' sluggish return game if signed. Tampa Bay went through numerous kick returners (Arrelious Benn, LeQuan Lewis, Michael Smith) in 2012, with little success. Washington most likely would also be Tampa Bay’s punt returner as Roscoe Parrish is a free agent and there in no indication he will be brought back.
• Defensive end Michael Bennett told ProFootballTalk.com late Tuesday that the odds of returning to Tampa Bay is 20-40 percent at best. The market was somewhat established early on Tuesday with former Raven defensive end/linebacker Paul Kruger getting a five-year, $40-million deal ($8 million avg.) with the Cleveland Browns. Kruger’s signing should help teams determine the market value for players like Bennett, Detroit's Cliff Avril, Houston's Connor Barwin, Atlanta's John Abraham and Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney. Reports yesterday had the Buccaneers extremely interested in Avril as a possible replacement for Bennett. But no reports of any visits have been established as of yet.
• The backup quarterback situation became more interesting yesterday with reports that Tampa Bay inquired about trading for Patriots backup Ryan Mallett or the Chiefs' Matt Cassel. Mallett is in the final year of his contract, but the asking price would most likely be no less than a third-round pick. Cassel seems like a more reasonable possibility as the Chiefs plan to release him on Wednesday if a trade cant be worked out. Cassel is expendable with the acquisition of former 49ers QB Alex Smith and backup Chase Daniel. Former Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was released by Buffalo and Tampa Bay may consider giving the former Harvard grad a look.
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